A Guide to the Crooked Road

A Guide to the Crooked Road


Virginia's Heritage Music Trail

Joe Wilson

ISBN: 9780895873279

Published: May 2006

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The Crooked Road is a 253-mile stretch of highway in southwestern Virginia. This remote area, which is one of the places that gave birth to American music, has been a musical hotbed for generations. The route includes the Ralph Stanley Museum, the Carter Family Fold, the Birthplace of Country Music Alliance Museum, the Blue Ridge Music Center, the Rex Theater, the Floyd Country Store, and the Blue Ridge Institute and Museum. Covering the 10 counties through which the road passes, this guide provides information about the area’s musical attractions as well as opportunities to enjoy local crafts, outdoor recreation, lodging, and dining. Music lovers will also have the chance to take a piece of the Crooked Road home with them, thanks to the pair of CDs containing 53 examples of the old-time, bluegrass, Piedmont blues, Anglo-American ballads, and Appalachian gospel music that made the area famous.

Joe Wilson was a music historian, folklorist, and chairman of the National Council for the Traditional Arts. Raised in the Blue Ridge Mountains, he learned ballads from his mother, guitar from his uncle, and “Jack” tales from a neighbor. He also heard his great-aunt, known to early radio audiences as “Carolina Sally,” play banjo on his back porch. He has produced 41 large-scale music festivals in 11 states, and was one of the dirivng forces behind the creation of the Crooked Road. In 2001 he was awarded a National Heritage Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts.